Grounding, Guilt-Free Gelt, & Goats: DJJ Staff's Experiences at the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Network Assembly

That feeling when you meet your Jewish social justice movement role models...

DJJ staff attended the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Network Assembly at Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center last week. 

1412454_389688184467152_407922717_o.png Image sourced from Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Facebook page 

If you’ve been to one of our Hannukah parties -- Festival of Rights -- (RSVP to this year’s here), you’ll know that we feature “Guilt-Free Gelt” by T’ruah. T’ruah provides ethically made dark and milk chocolate coins for the holiday, in partnership with Divine Chocolate and Fair Trade Judaica. Last week, when Eleanor, Rabbi Alana, and I were at the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Network Assembly, we got to meet some of the actual faces behind the T’ruah name, an opportunity provided by the Roundtable’s national convening of 52 organizations and over 100 people.

The Assembly was staffed by the ineffable Abby Levine & Hannah Weilbacher and facilitated by the likes of Jewish social justice movement leaders such as Dove Kent, Koach Baruch Frazier, Yavilah McCoy, and many more. For three to four days, depending on what people signed up for, Assembly attendees noshed on Pearlstone's organic farm-to-table greens, put faces to emails, and studied deeply. Social service and volunteerism professionals, clergy, community organizers, and international relief agencies gathered to exchange best practices and learnings around racial identity, systemic racism, manifestations of white supremacy in our movement spaces, and how to work towards racial equity within our Jewish institutions. The trainers were very focused on grounding exercises, making sure attendees could access alignment between their bodies and minds.

The serious was well balanced by the fun. Eleanor and Detroit's own Stephanie Morgan-Sterenberg facilitated a raucous evening of karaoke; I cozied up by a late-night bonfire, and the campus goats were reliable sources of animal therapy all day, every day. This being the Jewish Social Justice Network Assembly, I was able to access davening spaces at every meal, which was a wonderful way to enjoy mindful pause and meditation using Jewish ritual.

Pearlstone's commitments to sustainability, kashrut, and hospitality were impressive. Check out the beautiful photos below of the Pearlstone grounds and critters from Pearlstone's Facebook page. DJJ staff give their enormous gratitude to the office, kitchen, grounds, and hospitality staff at Pearlstone, again to Abby & Hannah, to the trainers, and to our comrades in the Jewish social justice movement. Last week was about relationship and foundation building. Something special and something big is growing.

















Images sourced from Pearlstone Conference & Retreat Center Facebook Album: "Take a Look!"

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